Monday, August 15, 2016

Staying with the Sisters: Week 4 Recap

I need to start things off by apologizing for the delay between posts. Very soon after the most recent post, I left for Peru (don't worry, I promise to give an extra long post on that one) and then immediately after I had to go to school (Murray State) for job training. Things are finally starting to settle down as the first days of class start, so I can finally give you something to read.

To find I had been with the sisters a month was a shock to me. I honestly couldn't believe that we had already been at the monastery for four whole weeks. I vaguely remembered on day one that Sister T said we would be leaving for Peru in no time and there we were, literally half way through the summer. The thought put a bad feeling in my stomach that I forced out to focus more on the life and people before me.

One day during the week we went to Louisville to learn about one of the sisters' ministries.
The week was a quiet one. Half of community was on silent retreat, so the rest of us ladies were put in charge of cleaning halls, doing laundry for the sisters in the Hildegard Health Center, and learning how to work the switchboard. Our little community of five bonded a lot, from dancing and folding at the same time, to random Walmart trips turned jam sessions. I learned just a little more about each of the girls that were becoming my sisters, and I loved every second of the time that I spent with them.

Even during our organized chaos, though, we had time to contemplate and pray, something that I really needed after the past week. My revelation, while beautiful, had really shaken up my world and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. The whole week, I would send occasional thoughts to God: "Okay, God. You've got my attention. What do you want with me?"

I was still skeptical because religious life was not something that I was interested in before. So what? God basically disproved my biggest issues with the Catholic Church in one weekend with one person, no big deal right? I needed a bit of adjustment time to come to terms with what this meant for me.

There is apparently no rest for God when it comes to bringing me toward Him.

Friday afternoon we had a session with Sister Barbara Lynn, the prioress of the community, to talk about the Rule of Benedict. My sister and I were leaving shortly after to visit home for the weekend, so I was looking forward to taking a bit of time to see what it felt like away from the sisters. I had no idea that this talk would throw me back.

It was a bit like listening my old teacher from high school religion again. Miss Vogel had taught us that everything from the creation story to the Acts of the Apostles was the story of God's love and she changed my perspective on the Church and life, all before she died of cancer at 28. I missed her dearly as Sister Barbara Lynn showed us that the Rule was just the same. Everyone shall be treated equally. Everyone that comes to community has talents that are needed there. Everyone in community is loved and everyone that the community touches is loved, unconditionally. The prioress, the woman that the whole community elected to lead them, told us this, rolled her eyes when talking about the lack of power of women in the Church, and stoked that unquenchable fire in my soul that was sparked back in high school.

I could hardly contain myself when we walked out, holding a new book about the Rule of Benedict in modern terms. The entire drive home (that's about 3 hours by the way) Shea and I were practically screaming with excitement. A place full of people that believes in the same things that I have for years? I loved it. I needed to know more. I needed it now.

When I went home, I didn't lose the fiery feeling. I felt the loss of  prayer and routine like a hole in my chest, making me nervous and anxious for no reason. It was like coming back from a different country whose culture better suited your personality. I'd changed, but the people and things around me hadn't. All I wanted was to go back.

It was then that I knew God always wants me back, in any way that I come to Him. So I decided to start listening and waiting to go where He tells me to go.

Psalm 119: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

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